In case you missed David F Sanberg’s 2013 short “Lights Out” – which was so insanely scary it scored him the chance to turn it into a feature film – the opening of this 80 minute expansion of that film basically does it all over again: a woman turns off the lights, only to reveal a creepy figure in the shadows. When she turns the light on, the figure is gone. Turn the light off, the figure is there again – only closer. Bad news is, this is happening at night.
After that opening Sanberg reveals a plot revolving around Rebecca (Teresa Palmer) who moved out on her mentally unstable mother Sophie (Maria Bello), only to be drawn back in when her stepfather dies and her pre-teen stepbrother (Gabriel Bateman) reveals the creature lurking in the shadows that Rebecca fears just might be real. Sanberg doesn’t stack too much onto his scary central idea, instead working on multiple ways to drop his characters into unlit (and therefore dangerous) spaces. It’s impressive how well what is basically a one-note film works. That short run time doesn’t hurt, but solid performances from the leads means we’re scared for them even when the impact of the jump shocks start to fade.
Reviewed by Anthony Morris